George Moslener was already familiar with hard work and the value of education before his advisor, David Lanham, introduced him to SkillsUSA. Moslener’s parents own and operate Canyon Creek Irrigation, a small nursery and tree farm in Wylie, Texas. Moslener’s responsibilities in the family business include helping out with sales and billing, accounts payable and general office management.
Despite his hands-on work experience, Moslener had no particular vision for his future when he entered Wylie East High School. “Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be,” he says. However, after speaking with his advisor and several students at his school’s orientation, Moslener decided to give Lanham’s criminal justice class a try. “My advisor put on a video,” Moslener continues, remembering how Lanham first introduced students to the program. “I saw the red blazers. I saw kids standing on stage with medals and I saw the hard work they were doing. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s really cool. I think I want to do that.’ ”
Moslener soon got the nudge he needed to get started when his friends persuaded him to join the Crime Scene Investigation district team competition, but Moslener recalls feeling out of place that first year. “Going there, I didn’t really have any friends. It was really hard for me to fit in,” he says.
That all changed one morning over breakfast. A candidate for district office approached Moslener and invited him to join her. “She talked to me and we became friends,” he explains. “Through that, I felt like people do care, and they want me to succeed. We all have common goals. We all want to do our best.”
Inspired by his experience, Moslener decided to run for chapter office and was elected vice president in his sophomore year. Encouraged by his peers and advisor, Moslener decided to run for district office the following year. Surprised by the unexpected and enthusiastic support he received while campaigning, he was thrilled to be chosen to represent District 5 in Texas.
Taking action, together
Moslener soon found himself planning to travel to Canyon of the Eagles in Burnett, Texas, where newly elected officers attend summer leadership training.
Attendance is a mandatory part of being a district officer, but just one week before the training began, Moslener received a distressing call that jeopardized his attendance. His grandmother, who had been battling a serious illness for several months at her home in Mexico, had suddenly taken a turn for the worse.
Moslener phoned Lanham to explain the situation and let him know that, while his grandmother came first, he hoped to make it back in time for training. “It was a hard decision to make,” Moslener says. “I really wanted to visit my grandma before she passed. I also wanted to go be a district officer, because I worked hard for it and I didn’t want to let my school down.”
Although the Moslener family drove through the night, George’s grandmother passed away before many of her family members arrived. “It was a whole mixture of emotions,” Moslener says. “The family in Mexico and the family in the U.S., we don’t get to see each other very often. But after the funeral and the procession, I told [my grandmother], ‘I want to do this for you. I want to be a district officer. I want to do what’s right for my family.’ ”
The family decided to return to Texas immediately so Moslener could participate in his leadership training. Moslener asked a cousin in Wylie to retrieve his SkillsUSA gear and pass it to Moslener’s advisor, while — back in Mexico — his family set out on the nearly 12-hour journey to Texas.
Midway through their drive, the family faced another serious hurdle when their car slid off the road, causing damage to the vehicle’s oil pan. With no other option available, they put in a call to yet another family member: Moslener’s uncle, who had left for Texas several hours before them.
The uncle backtracked to pick Moslener up, and the journey to leadership training was soon underway again. Several hours later, exhausted but relieved, the two arrived at Canyon of the Eagles — late, but in time for Moslener to catch up with his fellow officers.
“The whole time, I was thinking about my grandma,” Moslener says. “As a leader, you have to make tough calls. I’m real glad I’ve taken the actions to get where I am, because I love SkillsUSA. I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences I’ve had. They’ve all helped to shape who I am today.”